|Thread begun by Robert on Sun 9/21/03 - 2:18 PM CDT
Amos was the blue collar prophet; a shepherd and
sycamore fig farmer from the southern village of
Tekoa. Near the end of each summer he would herd
his flocks to places such as western Judah where
the sycamore figs grew. To pay the local
landowners for grazing rights, Amos would pierce
holes in the sycamore figs. The sycamore fig was
smaller than the common fig and holes had to be
made in the skin to allow the fruit to ripen. It
was boring, tedious work.
Amos lived during the second golden age
and Israel. It was the 8th century BC. Jeroboam
II was king in the north and Uzziah was king in
the south. The two countries had gained a level
of wealth and prominence not seen since the days
But although Israel was rich, not all was
It was guilty of abandoning the Covenant with
God, idol worship was commonplace, the rich
abused the poor, and political corruption
abounded. Therefore, God sent the sycamore fig
farmer out of his country Judah, north into
Israel to announce that God‘s patience was
exhausted. The end had come. (Amos 8:2)
We are told in chapters seven and eight
received four visions of God‘s wrath. The first
vision was a vision of locusts. The locusts
would come and destroy the crops in the fields.
Amos was frightened by the vision.
In the summer of 2003 I traveled to north
Kansas for my job. They told me that last year‘s
crop had been hurt by the locusts. But they said
that the locusts of last year were nothing
compared to locust invasions of the past. If the
modern farmer with his pesticides fears the
locust, how much more did the farmer of the
eighth century B.C.?
The locusts seen by Amos would come at
beginning of the late crop and eat everything.
And the people would starve. So Amos prayed. He
said the people were weak. “Please hold back
Your anger O Lord. Please forgive.“ And as God
had relented at the pleadings of Moses, so God
honored the plea of Amos.
If the first vision was frightening, the
was absolutely terrifying. A great fire would
come. The fire of God‘s wrath would be so great
it would dry up the oceans and the subterranean
waters. Surely, nothing would remain alive.
Everyone and everything would be burned up. So
once again, Amos pleaded desperately with God.
And once again, God relented.
But, then, God gave Amos a third vision.
here the visions change. In this vision, the
Lord held out a plumb line. As the builder of a
wall uses a plumb line to make sure that his wall
is straight, God was going to measure the people
to see if they were straight. The idolatry and
social injustice of Israel would come into clear
view against the straight line of God‘s law.
Therefore, God would send the sword. This time,
God afforded Amos no opportunity to plead for the
people, and Amos knew not to try any longer.
Soon after, one of Israel‘s high priests,
Amaziah, told Amos to leave and never come back.
‘‘O thou seer,
go, flee thee away into the land of Judah,
and there eat bread,
and prophesy there:
But prophesy not again any more at Bethel:
for it [is] the king‘s chapel,
and it [is] the king‘s court.‘‘
But Amos responded:
‘‘I [was] no prophet,
neither [was] I a prophet‘s son;
but I [was] an herdman,
and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
And the LORD took me as I followed the flock,
and the LORD said unto me,
Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD:
Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel,
and drop not [thy word] against the house of Isaac.‘‘
‘‘Therefore thus saith the LORD;
Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city,
and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword,
and thy land shall be divided by line;
and thou shalt die in a polluted land:
and Israel shall surely go into captivity
forth of his land.‘‘
Unfortunately, the high priest was
speaking the sentiments of all Israel for all the north had
openly spurned the Law of God. So God gave Amos
a fourth vision. He showed Amos a basket of ripe
fruit. For the people of Israel were ripe for
judgment. And judgment was coming.
Only a few years later, God would send
Assyrians against Israel. The Assyrians would
destroy the country and carry the people off into
So what is the meaning of the message of
us today? The message is this: God will not be
mocked. America is mocking God with its murder
of the unborn, its embrace of the homosexual
agenda, its removal of the Ten Commandments from
public places, its apostasy.
America must repent or judgment will